On Monday, Eli Lilly announced that it would introduce a cheaper, generic version of its insulin.
According to the company’s statement, the generic version of insulin will be called Lispro and it will be sold at a price that is 50% cheaper than Humalog, the Eli Lilly’s most popular insulin.
Eli Lilly CEO, David Rick, said, “While this change is a step in the right direction, all of us in the health care community must do more to fix the problem of high out-of-pocket costs for Americans living with chronic conditions. We hope our announcement is a catalyst for positive change across the U.S. health care system.”
This move has been made because insulin manufacturers will be undergoing intense scrutiny for the skyrocketed prices on insulin, a drug advised for diabetes, which has been available for decades.
The Senate Finance Committee opened a two-party investigation into the soaring prices of insulin a couple of weeks ago.
On February 22, Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Wyden issued letters to the CEOs of Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi, requesting to provide more information on their insulin prices.
According to the senators, the prices of Humalog increased by 585% from 2001 to 2015.
Upon Eli Lilly’s decision to offer a cheaper, generic version of insulin, Grassley responded on Twitter calling it “good news,” but “only 1 piece of puzzle.” However, he still expects thorough responses from the drug manufacturers.
In a statement to Yahoo Finance, Wyden said, “Regardless of the headlines and PR acrobatics, the Finance Committee is continuing to investigate how major insulin manufacturers set and increase the outrageous price of insulin, in addition to other business decisions related to the price of insulin. The company’s decision to offer a generic version of a several decade old drug will be part of the investigation.”
Last week, seven pharmaceutical CEOs testified before the Senate Finance Committee, while Eli Lilly was not invited to testify.
Grassley said he would not make any decision until he gets the responses from the companies.
The senator said, “I would hope that we’re going to embarrass [the insulin manufacturers] to some extent like we embarrassed Mylan on Epi-Pen, if you remember. To maybe be a little more common sense in their approach of prices.” Meanwhile, Eli Lilly announced that it would work to make the cheaper, generic version of insulin available in pharmacies as soon as possible.